Judge rules probable cause to try Kentucky National Guard sexual assault case

The case of four Kentucky National Guardsmen charged with sexual assault moves forward after Calloway County Judge Randall Hutchens ruled on Wednesday that there is probable cause.

"In 2017, in Calloway County, Kentucky, this is not consent, and a woman should not be assaulted this way by anybody," he said after more than an hour-long preliminary hearing for all four soldiers.  

Anthony Tubolino, Tyler Hart, Jacob Ruth, and Austin Dennis were arrested and charged with varying degrees of sexual assault in the beginning of June. They were all stationed at the Calloway County armory.

The mood in the courtroom was tense. The victim’s family sat a few rows back. The details in this case are graphic.

The reported sexual assault occurred at a local hotel in Calloway County. The four men and the victim all knew each other and were friends. They were all staying at the hotel for the weekend. The victim was staying with two of the defendants. There was no reported history of any previous sexual relationship between the victim and any of the soldiers.

The four defense attorneys asked the prosecution’s witness, Kentucky State Police Detective Cory Hamby, questions. The defense’s goal is to prove there was consent.

"This young lady got drunk and had sexual contact with several men," argued Tubolino’s defense attorney Alan Simpson. "Just because she doesn’t remember it or wakes up and starts to remember it in the middle of it does not make it rape or sodomy."

Hutchens was visibly upset, asking Simpson: "Are you suggesting that this lady consented to this?" Simpson said "Yes sir, absolutely."

"I disagree," said Hutchens.

Hamby read the statements he took from the victim and all four defendants.

In statements from the defendants, all four admitted to some form of sexual acts.

Hart told police he didn’t know if he had consent, but the victim did not put up a fight.

Ruth told police he was not drunk, but he knew the victim was drunk.

Dennis told police that after partaking in sexual acts with victim, he left and said he didn’t want anything to do with it and thought it was wrong.

Tubolino, who is the only defendant charged with rape, told police he assumed he had permission. When Hamby asked him during interviews if he had sex with the victim, he said "If they’re saying it, it must be true."

Hamby said KSP is still waiting on lab results from DNA samples. All four of the men’s charges were amended from second degree to first degree.

A grand jury will hear this case on July 18. The four guardsmen will be back in court on Aug. 15.